Benchmark Full Proof Bourbon Whiskey Review

Jim Casey02/07/23
Benchmark Full Proof Bourbon Whiskey Review

photo by Outsider

Benchmark Full Proof Bourbon Whiskey is yet another bottle from Buffalo Trace Distillery’s spirited repertoire. Of course, that whiskey-soaked arsenal features a handful of bourbons from our recent Reviews, including Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, Weller 12, Old Rip Van Winkle 10, and Old Hancock.

Benchmark Full Proof is rumored to come from BTD’s low-rye #1 mashbill (the same as E.H. Taylor, Eagle Rare, George T. Stagg, and Stagg Jr., among others). And while Benchmark Full Proof carries no age statement, the high-proof youngster is thought to be around 4 years old.

Let’s take a pour of Benchmark Full Proof to see if this high-proof bottle lives up to its high-standard moniker.

At a Glance

  • Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery
  • Location: Frankfort, KY
  • Style: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Age: Not Stated
  • Mashbill: Not Stated (rumored BTD #1 low-rye)
  • Proof: 125
  • MSRP: $22
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(photo by Outsider)

Benchmark Full Proof: What We Say

Nosemedium alcohol, oak, sweet tobacco, leather, cocoa
Palatebutterscotch, cherry, oak spice, Fireball candy, popcorn
Finishmedium-long, cinnamon, Twizzlers
What You Can Expect to Pay$22-$26
Buy It: Now, Soon, Later, NeverSoon
Outsider Rating86/100

The nose opens, as you might expect of a “younger” Full Proof, with a waft of medium alcohol. But there’s so much more on the way, including oak and sweet, sweet tobacco. When you really get sniffing, there’s a mild note of cocoa and then the leather hits ya, like an old baseball mitt. It’s really a fantastic nose. And I’m hesitant to write this—because it’s a positive connotation to me—but the nose also has a bit of a locker-room vibe. I could smell this all day. But let’s sip.

On the palate, it’s butterscotch, cherry, and oak spice with the warming heat of a Fireball candy. But it’s not overwhelming. The mouthfeel is creamy and it pleasantly coats without being syrupy. A little bit of chewing evokes buttered popcorn on the way to the medium-long finish that’s full of cinnamon and . . . wait for it . . . delightful Twizzlers. It’s definitely more cherry than licorice, but that little flicker of numbing fennel is there. And it’s so damn good.

Nose. Palate. Finish. I like everything about this bottle, including the price.

What Buffalo Trace Says About Benchmark Full Proof

This Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is bottled at the same proof that in enters the barrel. Bold and robust, this 125 proof whiskey is meant to be sipped and savored. The scent of deep brown sugar and chocolate are followed by the bold taste of caramel and baking spice. The finish is long and rich.

Recommended Sip

Sipping this neat checks all of my boxes (I love a high-proof pour). The addition of an ice cube mitigates the proof heat, without detracting much from the palate or the finish.

If Benchmark Full Proof Is Too Hot for Ya, Try

(photo by Outsider)
  • E.H. Taylor Jr. Small Batch
  • Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery
  • Location: Frankfort, KY
  • Style: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Proof: 100
  • MSRP: $45

E.H. Taylor Jr. Small Batch is rumored to come from the same BTD low-rye mashbill as Benchmark Full Proof. And it has plenty of similar notes—including butterscotch, popcorn, and tobacco (and even a hint of licorice)—but the Taylor Jr. Small Batch won’t hurt ya with its 100-proof finish.